Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Something to think about

Thanks to Yellowdog Grannie!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Odds and Sods: Post-Thanksgiving edition

At left: I didn't mean to look so bloody GRIM! From Occupy Greenville yesterday, photo by wonderful Uma.



And we are still at it. For how long? I don't know, but I don't mind. I figure any lasting changes in our society will take a long time--and I figured that out a long time ago, as well. As it is, we are dealing with a society that often has no clue. People come out of the CVS and Starbucks and ask us what we are doing; they've never even HEARD of Occupy. Some Occupiers bravely went to the malls on the day after Thanksgiving, with signs instructing shoppers to "Buy Local!"--and various customers replied, "But we ARE buying local!"

Do they know that Walmart is in Arkansas? On some level, they seem to realize this. On another, they don't get it.

I think they are probably typical of the majority.

And we plow ever onward.

~*~

Back from Hotlanta, where I spent the holidays ingesting fabulous coconut cream pie and shopping in those amazing big-city thrift stores.

Some interesting stories for your perusal:

:: Occupy Atlanta occupied Lenox Square Mall, placing provocative "BUY NOTHING!" price tags over selected merchandise.

:: Highly recommended: Leonard Pitts column titled Seek holistic solutions.

:: Atlanta Journal-Constitution is all over Newt Gingrich's recent statements about immigration during the last Republican debate:

Gingrich has risen to the top of the polls recently on the strength of his debate performances and the shortcomings of other candidates, becoming the latest in a carousel of top challengers to front-runner Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts.

Rival campaigns pounced on the immigration issue as a chance to take Gingrich down a peg.

“I think there’s a major and legitimate difference of opinion on immigration between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney,” said Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom. “Newt Gingrich supported the 1986 amnesty and even though he concedes it was a mistake, he’s willing to repeat that mistake by granting amnesty to today’s illegal immigrants.”
:: Amish Haircutting Attacks! The leader of the hair-cutters is named Mullet. Now, I ask you, is that funny or what?
Seven members of a renegade Amish sect face hate crime charges - and possibly life in prison - for a beard-cutting spree that terrorized fellow Amish in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana.

The sect's leader, Samuel Mullet Sr., and six of his followers, including three sons, were arrested in an FBI raid of their Ohio compound, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

They also are accused of heavy-heavy handed tactics to keep sect members in line - including beatings, forcing members to sleep in a chicken coop, and having sex with married followers in “cleansing” rituals, the Associated Press reports.

Mullet and his followers attacked those in the wider Amish community who disagreed with his sect’s interpretation of the faith, according to law enforcement officials.

The hair-cutting attacks, carried out with scissors and battery-powered clippers, were a particularly horrific affront in the Amish community, whose religious beliefs call for men to stop shaving their beards once they marry.

"You've got Amish all over the state of Ohio and Pennsylvania and Indiana that are concerned. We've received hundreds and hundreds of calls from people living in fear," Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla told reporters at a news conference Wednesday. "They are buying Mace, some are sitting with shotguns, getting locks on their doors because of Sam Mullet."

Mullet justified the shearings to the Associated Press as retaliation for what he percieved as violation of Amish orthodoxy.
So much for those peaceful Amish we always heard about.

At left: a still from WSPA-TV, I am on the far left (as always) holding yellow sign, as in the above photo.


:: Interesting tax loophole has allowed New Yorkers to save money on roll-your-own tobacco, even though they technically aren't rolling their own, machines are:
NEW YORK – There is no place in the U.S. more expensive to smoke than New York City, where the taxes alone will set you back $5.85 per pack. Yet, addicts who visit Island Smokes, a "roll-your-own" cigarette shop in Chinatown, can walk out with an entire 10-pack carton for under $40, thanks to a yawning tax loophole that officials in several states are now trying to close.The store is one of a growing number around the country that have come under fire over their use of high-speed cigarette rolling machines that function as miniature factories, and can package loose tobacco and rolling papers into neatly formed cigarettes, sometimes in just a few minutes.

The secret to Island's low prices is simple: Even though patrons leave carrying cartons that look very much like the Marlboros or Newports, the store charges taxes at the rate set for loose tobacco, which is just a fraction of what is charged for a commercially made pack.

Customers select a blend of tobacco leaves, intended to mirror the flavor of their regular brand. Then they feed the tobacco and some paper tubes into the machines, and return to the counter with the finished product to ring up the purchase.

The savings come at every level. Many stores sell customers loose pipe tobacco, which is taxed by the federal government at $2.80 per pound (450 grams), compared with $25 per pound for tobacco made for cigarettes. The shops don't pay into the cigarette manufacturer trust fund, intended to reimburse government health programs for the cost of treating smoking-related illness. And the packs produced by "roll-your-own" shops are generally also being sold without local tax stamps, which in New York include a $1.50 city tax and a $4.35 state tax.

New York City's legal department filed a lawsuit against Island Smokes on Nov. 14, arguing that the company's Manhattan store and another on Staten Island are engaging in blatant tax evasion.
Busted!

Doncha know, the government will ALWAYS take their share? Nice try though!

~*~

I listen to my "Truckin with Albert Collins" CD when I travel! Now I have his infectious, curlicue 60s blues riffs lodged in my head.

Sharing the dreaded Thanksgiving earworm!

Shiver and Shake - Albert Collins



Kool Aide - Albert Collins

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

LEAVE THE TURKEY ALONE! He/she is innocent and didn't do anything to YOU!

Below, behold my popular, yearly Thanksgiving cartoon. (I started getting hits on it on SUNDAY!) Have a great holiday!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Reflections on Jack Ruby

Depending upon who you read, Jack Ruby was a petty strip-club gangster or an important mobster-friend of Sam Giancana.







NOTE: I first wrote this in 2009, and re-posted it last year at this time.

I am posting it again, since it accurately captures my nostalgic feelings/memories at the end of every November.


Please limit comments to current post. Thanks.


~*~


It was November 24, 1963.

I remember that I was sitting on a footstool, my nose approximately 8 inches from my family's black-and-white TV set. If I got too close, I couldn't see anything, but I was intent on getting just as close as I could. I wanted to see it all.

It was Sunday morning, and I remember well the hubbub of the adults in the kitchen. I was the only one in the small dining room that served as our TV room. I heard the TV-news announcer say that Lee Oswald was going to be transferred in an armored vehicle. I didn't know what an armored vehicle was, but it sounded awesome. And yet... that little guy? As a six-year-old, I was surprised that such a skinny little guy could be the villain of the hour. I had expected the president's assassin to look something like Brutus, the dastardly evil man of the Popeye cartoons... or at least, he should bear some resemblance to Lex Luthor. This skinny, slight, soft-spoken fellow who calmly denied being near Dealey Plaza? Well, he was just spooky, that's all. They kept calling him a Marxist and a communist, words I didn't yet understand but knew meant that he was a bad person. (I would say the word "communist" in 1963 had the similar gravitas of the word "terrorist" in 2009.) I was enthralled by the constant TV-coverage, the switching back and forth from Dallas to Washington... to our new president, Lyndon Johnson and then back to the basement of Dallas city jail. It was as dazzling as space travel.

Middle-American culture had changed utterly and completely in only two days.

For one thing, the TV had not always been on before. You turned on the TV to watch something, and when it was over, you turned it off. Sometimes you left it on, but usually not. Among the working classes, it was not unusual for some families not to own a TV at all. There were often anti-TV holdouts in these families; cantankerous, old-school types who thought TV was all rubbish and probably unchristian. But after this weekend? This archaic viewpoint was consigned to the dustbin of history. Back in my first-grade class, I would hear about parents who had rushed out to buy a TV at long last. They simply could not bear to be left out.

The TV had been turned on, and stayed on. It was on when I got home from school, dismissed early due to the tragedy, and it was on throughout the funeral. And it stayed on forever after.

And the TV was on as they transferred Lee Oswald to the armored vehicle, or attempted to. There was much talk about security because tensions were running extremely high; there was palpable fury throughout the city of Dallas. When police had forcibly taken Oswald from the theater where they had discovered him, hostile mobs surrounded the police car, and it was said he might have been torn to pieces if the crowd had been able to get their hands on him.

Listening to all this, I was riveted. I remember peering intently as they brought him out, my nose almost right on the screen: There he is!

And then, the inevitable disappointment: such a nonthreatening little dude he was.

I peered and peered and then... bang. Oswald was down.

What?

It was so quick. If not for the firecracker-noise of the gun, I would never have known.

"They shot him!" I shouted, "They shot Oswald! They shot him!"

The adults stampeded as one entity, from the kitchen to the small dining room where I was. My mother, grandparents, some other relatives I have since forgotten... possibly my cousin Charlene.

"I SAW it!" I was shouting, "I SAW IT!"

SSSSSSSssssssshhhhhhhh! Everyone was shushing me. Had I really seen that? The adults' eyes were collectively popping. I felt pretty important for being the one to see it.

"He must be really mad about the president, huh?" I asked.

Nobody answered. They kept shushing me, as obviously-shaken news-announcers talked about what they had just witnessed.

And then, the adults were all looking at each other, that way adults did when they were thinking things that they would not share with children.

Finally, my grandfather said, in what I have come to call his Christian Science Wisdom voice: "Well, that really stinks."

My mother's eyes were wide, wide, wide.

My grandfather shook his head and said "Stinks!" again, rather emphatically. My mother nodded gravely back at him.

I didn't know what he meant then.

The TV-announcers were saying his name: Jack Ruby. The man's name was Jack Ruby.

~*~

Like millions of Americans that day, I saw a murder on live television. Because the murder was widely perceived as an act of justice, nobody worried about the ill effects on all of us children who saw it. And later, many years and decades later, when we began to doubt that what we saw was justice and instead wondered if it had been the silencing of a co-conspirator... nobody worried about the erosion of our morality and the consequential development of our cynicism.

But I trace it all back to that day, the day in the basement of the Dallas city jail.

They ask us, do you remember where you were when John F. Kennedy was assassinated? But I always ask, instead: What did you think when his accused murderer was pronounced dead? Because the silencing began then, the questions asked that will forever remain unanswered. (As Norman Mailer once explained the existence of the angry kids of the 60s: They hated the authority because the authority had lied.)

My grandfather was right. It certainly did stink. And the stench covered everything.

The lies of the powerful were uncovered and exposed before us, that morning in the basement of the Dallas city jail.

Some of us never forgot.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Why I hate Newt: It's personal

At left: January 2000 cover of Atlanta Magazine, courtesy of Rebecca Burns and her great memory.




Going to suburban Atlanta for the holiday, later in the week. Now that Newtie is back in the news, I will be hearing all about him from my father-in-law (again), who considers him the most dishonest of the most dishonest politicians. I remember the 90s as one long anti-Newt screed, over various Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. It was a nice vacation for my nerves when Newt retired from government to take $1.5 million from Freddie Mac, leaving the good citizens of Georgia alone. (Although lots of 90s survivors have never trusted him, for a variety of reasons.)

And now he's back and noisily running for President, with his famous cost-cutting measures, such as staying in the SC Governor's mansion on my dime. And he instructs us dirty Occupiers to take a bath and get a job! This has brought out some nasty tweets in response:

You know #Newt, some in #OWS may not bathe as often as you, but I'd bet most of them wouldn't divorce their spouses who are dying of cancer.
Direct hit!

Yes, its hard to swallow self-righteous moralism from serial monogamists who owe Tiffany's a half million dollars, and expect to be taken seriously. But there are Newt signs all over my neighborhood and across from St Mary Magdalene in Simpsonville, so I guess he is making important political inroads in the Palmetto State.

He is an awful, resentful, arrogant, duplicitous, dishonest man. And not just in his personal life, but in every single thing he does and every single thing he touches.

This tells us so much about the Republican Party, that this common shyster is what they are left with.

And besides that, he is going to ruin ANOTHER Thanksgiving for me as I listen to a catalog of his sins. Dyspepsia awaits, and plenty of it.

(burp)

Random Monday notes and warnings

As every single Star Wars movie has said at least once: I have a very bad feeling about this. PLEASE brothers and sisters in the Occupy movement, do not underestimate a cutthroat conservative politician who is afraid of losing their base, and what they might do to keep that base happy.

Occupiers are planning to defy Governor Haley's unconstitutional 6pm curfew at the State House in Columbia. My best Deadhead vibes are with them, as well as my warnings. My Tarot counseled me in no uncertain terms, not to go. Reshuffled, threw it again, even worse the second time. I decided that since I have no bail money, I would sit this one out. If I had a lawyer at the ready and bail money, I would be taking part.

Nikki Haley is weathering several scandals right now, and Occupy Columbia is popularly regarded as one of these. Conservatives want her to sweep the place, and "get tough" on Occupy. She finally did, and the nineteen arrests were greeted as a positive by conservatives.

Haley is currently dealing with an ethics-based lawsuit:

COLUMBIA -- A top Republican donor and critic of Gov. Nikki Haley asked a court Thursday to decide whether she broke ethics laws while she was a member of the South Carolina House. Haley discounted the lawsuit.

The lawsuit filed in circuit court in Richland County by John Rainey centers around Haley's jobs as a fundraiser for the Lexington Medical Center and with an engineering firm that has state contracts.

The lawsuit is the culmination of months of digging by Rainey, former chairman of the state Board of Economic Advisors, who first raised questions about Haley's work in 2010 during her campaign for governor.

Rainey, a longtime Republican activist, declined comment on the suit Thursday, as did his lawyer, Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian.

"There's nothing there," Haley said during a visit Thursday to the Alcoa aluminum plant in Goose Creek. "He needs to get a life," she said, referring to Rainey. "It's a silly vendetta."

The lawsuit accuses the Republican governor of working as a lobbyist for the hospital, and of soliciting lobbyists to donate to its foundation.

It also accuses her of failing to disclose information on campaign filings about her work for Wilbur Smith, and of not recusing herself from a vote benefiting the employer, as well as not explaining on another vote why she did recuse herself.

"Haley exploited her public office for personal financial gain by trading on her influence and office to benefit corporations that were paying her money," the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit accuses Haley, first elected in 2004 to represent Lexington in the House, of lobbying the state Department of Health and Environment Control on behalf of Lexington Medical, as it sought permission for a new open-heart surgery center.
In addition, fiscal conservatives have been livid over her well-publicized "jobs junket" to France and Germany.

Governor Haley has unfairly baited and trashed Occupy Columbia from the beginning. Therefore, I am worried that she will use a crackdown for political gain, and as a diversion tactic.

Please, everybody, be careful and be prepared.

~*~

Required reading: At Religious Right Forum, GOP Candidates Weep and Proselytize. Yes, it's as bad as you think it is.

What's funny is how Newt and Ron Paul can't quite get with the program. They are congenitally unable to act a fool in public:
Herman Cain lost his composure when talking about he was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer; former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, Penn., came apart a bit when berating himself for having stayed emotionally distant from his youngest daughter, who has a grave genetic disorder that has twice brought her close to death.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, Minn., told of how her father abandoned her family, leaving her mother to sell their wedding gifts -- "all the pretty dishes" -- at a garage sale. Apparently lacking a personal story to match theirs, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Ga., summoned the tale of a friend's gravely injured child to simultaneously choke up and rail against the health-care reform law signed by President Barack Obama.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry talked of finding Jesus. Rep. Ron Paul, Texas, gave hints of Christian Reconstructionist leanings, but proved himself inept at public soul-bearing. Asked to reveal some personal difficulty, he talked of how injury cut short his high school track career, but then said he realized it wasn't that big a deal.
Another example of why people like Ron Paul: even when he tries to be all touchy-feely and play the Dr Phil game, on some level, his sensible side just won't play along with the okey-doke. He's a doctor, remember?

Newt also tries hard, but his Ebenezer-Scrooge-personality inevitably shows itself, no matter what he does. Now he has added a moral-mea-culpa page to his website, pandering to the Religious Right that is still skeptical of his serial monogamy and general assholery.

I am not surprised Newt has surged to the front of the pack, what with sexual harassers, stoners and religious flakes embarrassing the GOP. He IS smart (like a fox) and the Republicans are long-tired of being shamed by conservative stupidity. Newt, college lecturer and shape-shifting busybody, is the flavor of the hour.

~*~

Glenn Greenwald accurately speaks my thoughts aloud, asking WHY children of rich politicians and commentators get hired by the media, as if they have a clue? Meritocracy? Say what?:
I really don’t understand what those angry, lazy losers in the Occupy movement are so upset about. America is a meritocracy; if you work hard and prove your skills, you get ahead. The winners deserve what they have because they have earned it. And when all else fails, we have a media filled with insurgent outsiders who will be relentless watchdogs over those in power because that’s what our media outlets are: true outsiders there to check the most powerful factions.

Even more encouragingly, we have a media that ensures that diverse views are heard; Chelsea Clinton previously worked at a $12 billion hedge fund and her former-Goldman-Sachs-banker husband earlier this year launched his own hedge fund with “two guys from Goldman,” so she brings a depth and diversity of perspetive that is sorely lacking in our news (true, CNN boldly features Erin Burnett — the former Goldman, Sachs employee and current fiancé of a top Citigroup executive — but nothing can compete with Chelsea Clinton’s rich, impressive journalism background).
And now, we can add Meghan McCain to that list, along with Luke Russert, Imogen Lloyd Webber and Jenna Bush.

Meritocracy? Only if you have the merit to be born to somebody important.

~*~

Have I mentioned that I don't like the fact that there is a movie called "The Kids Are Alright"--since there is also an old documentary about The Who by that name? Please be original enough to think up original names for your movies! If you can't, even if you are Lisa Cholodenko and directed one of my favorite movies of all time, I will boycott your cutesy mainstream movie.

Be advised!

Below: Check out the bemused expressions on the faces of folks floating by in the boats. Keith was adorable! Roger still hadn't morphed into a fashion plate, so you may not even recognize him.


The Kids Are Alright - The Who

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dead Air Sells Out, BJU robs Greenville County (again), etc

At left: Famous cover of THE WHO SELL OUT, from whom I stole half of today's blog post title.



I have decided to enable Google ads on my blog, at long last, because I have run out of unemployment checks. CLICK THOSE ADS, people.

Seriously, I didn't want to. I initially took them off waaaay back in November 2009, due to all the "Is Barack Obama a Muslim?" and "Is Barack Obama the Antichrist?" ads (probably my own fault for naming a post that), which I found pernicious and possibly racist. Thus, in a purist political huff, I yanked the ads. Now I have put them back, since I promised myself if I got X amount of hits, it would be worth my while to do so. And in fact, I have received far more than X, but did not keep my promise to myself.

Why? Well, I still don't like the ads, that's why.

For example, the first ads that came up were for HRT, since one of my posts this month was about hot flashes. Even though I carefully state in the piece, that Hormone Replacement Therapy causes cancer, the ad-placement appears that I approve of HRT if you don't regularly read my blog and/or just skim. Annoying.

Then again, I look at the some of the atheist blogs, and they don't seem to care if they get the Billy Graham Association or Bible Study Guides on their Google ads. (Some of the ads are humongous, and they still don't care!) If they can bite the bullet, I guess I can too. On some level, they are probably thinking that 1) the juxtaposition of atheist content and Bible ads is amusing, and it is, and 2) their readers should be able to come to their own conclusions. And they should.

Supposedly, one can target ads. However, perusing the Google adsense FAQ (containing copious html code), lots of this stuff appears to be written in high-tech gibberish, inaccessible to mere mortals. (I barely figured out how to install my tag cloud, okay?) And I don't know how well the targeting actually works.

But in any event, you will now see ADS, when before, I could afford to be ideologically pure. Next time someone accuses me of disliking capitalism, I can point to all the ads here on DEAD AIR, and say WHAT ABOUT THOSE? Advertising is the American Way, after all.

~*~

Daisy Deadhead Show update: Today was our BEST SHOW YET! We featured the two run-off candidates for mayor of Simpsonville, Perry Eichor and Tammy Bagwell, as well as other call-ins. Check out the podcast to the right.

As promised, I trashed Bob Jones University, and someone called in to helpfully inform me that the BJU Art Gallery downtown was turned over to the county due to staggering debt, and now WE are supporting it. [Note: There is a "satellite" gallery downtown in the old Coca Cola building, while the main gallery is on the BJU campus.]

Well, that's certainly interesting, isn't it?

Entering the address of the BJU art museum into the tax records for Greenville County, I see that 420 College Street, Greenville, SC is deeded to: GREENVILLE COUNTY MUSEUM COMMISSION. Oh yeah? So, Bob Jones University no longer owns it, and they sold it to the county for (one assumes) a hefty profit. Was this sale voted on? Because you know, I don't remember voting on it. Who approved the sale and for how much?

Obviously, one of those sweet backroom deals that local BJU-Republicans are known for.

Market value of the property is listed as $1,394,060. Is that what the County paid for it? Where did this money come from, exactly? Who decided on the deal in the first place? How does this benefit the county?

Stinks, really stinks.

Further, my caller recently visited the Greenville County Auditor's office (Scott Case, BJU again), where there are two brand new fancy plasma TVs for people to watch while waiting in interminable lines. And can you all guess what channel these TVs are tuned to? No, not the Food Network!

Fox News.

When my intrepid caller asked a county employee WHY Fox News? The employee said that was the decision of SCOTT CASE and all interested parties would have to take it up with him.

So, we have TVs paid for by the county (that is to say, US) presumably intended for the entire county population to watch, but they are permanently set on FOX NEWS. Does the county government endorse Fox News officially? Because I think that amounts to political partisanship in neutral government territory.

But then, neutrality is not something they major in, over at BJU. Using the government to their advantage and getting local government to foot their bills and dig them out of art-gallery debt? They have obviously figured out how to do that, as has Governor Haley. And here's the punch line: all while calling themselves fiscal conservatives. As long as they use the magic talisman of *fiscal conservatism* -- they can pretty much run through as much of our collective money as they can get their greedy little hands on.

No wonder the BJU gang all voted for Haley; they have the same morality, or lack of it.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Frank would have loved the Occupy movement

Frank on Friday really should be several hours long. Unfortunately, the only time they do that is during "pledge week"--which means I am one of the few people looking forward to WNCW's fund drives. PLAY MORE FRANK! Today, they played Sting and Zappa doing "Murder by Numbers" together in a live performance, simply sublime. Frank kept referring to him as "Mr Sting" which was funny and oh so Zappaesque.

We miss you, man!

~*~

As I said earlier this week, the Occupy movement is under attack. Governor Haley (insert boos, catcalls, thumbs down, other rude gestures) cleared out Occupy Columbia from the Statehouse lawn, claiming protesters were urinating in the bushes. I wish I could have added my urine to the place, to express my dislike of our state government, as well as solidarity with the urinating Occupiers. Nineteen arrests.

First Amendment? What's that?

We need a lawyer to make the case that urine is a form of political protest. If you can artistically dip crucifixes in urine, it seems to me, you can pee on Haley's place of employment and claim that's political.

Alas, this is South Carolina, and we don't have any left-wing political lawyers here.

More nationwide:

Occupiers take over Brooklyn Bridge (Atlantic Wire)

Occupy New Haven meets NY Occupiers on other side of bridge (New Haven Independent)

Occupy Wall Street projects giant 99% logo onto Verizon building (Think Progress) Can you hear us now?

Occupy flash mob in Atlanta Wells Fargo bank (Twitvid)

Occupy Dallas Evicted (KDAF)

Occupy Austin Evicted (Austin Statesman)

Occupy Seattle means business (MyNorthwest.com)

Occupy Chicago protest results in 46 arrests on major bridge (Raw Story)

FBI Director Ducks Questions On Occupy Movement During SF Talk (SF Appeal)

Tea Party and Occupiers find common ground in Memphis (NPR)

Your soundtrack for today's readings!


Revolution - The Beatles



~*~

My husband's home state, Georgia, is next up for the "Personhood for Zygotes" people. They lost Mississippi, but they haven't given up. Not by a long shot.

Hanging out on Twitter last night, I finally got a "pro life" reply to my question: If you make abortion illegal, where will you get the money to build all those new jails? If there have been (as they claim) 53 million murders since Roe v Wade, where will they send all of these murderers? That adds up to the populations of several major cities.

Here is the reply, which was retweeted to me:

Woman who have an abortion should be put to death as soon as guilty gavel cones down. #prochoice is murder.
Silly me, asking about prisons!

I guess I should start asking, where will you get the money in the current economy to pay all those executioners? Or will they outsource that work, like they do call centers?

Pretty honest reply, though. At least the agenda is right out there: we looooove babies, but we don't care about the women who give birth to them and would prefer to kill them off.

Make no mistake, that is the agenda. And at least one of them is honest enough to say so.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

SAVE THE INTERNET!

The SOPA hearings are today, and of course you all are writing and emailing and calling your government representatives to let them know that YOU READ BLOGS and BLOGS ARE UNDER ATTACK! SAVE THE BLOGGERS! THIS IS HORRIBLE! Free speech is under attack by corporations.

I can't say it any clearer than that. Please help.

SOPA is the Stop Internet Piracy Act introduced in Congress. This will keep people like me and you from reproducing forgotten 70s songs or peace symbols or movie reviews or (ahhhh, here it is) political criticism on our blogs. Here is the Judiciary Committee description, from the horse's mouth, so to speak:

The purpose of this legislative hearing is to examine issues that relate to H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act, which was introduced October 26, 2011. The Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261) builds on the Pro IP Act of 2008 and the Senate’s Protect IP Act introduced earlier this year. The bill modernizes our criminal and civil statutes to meet new IP enforcement challenges and protect American jobs. The proposal reflects a bipartisan and bicameral commitment toward ensuring that law enforcement and job creators have the necessary tools to protect American intellectual property from counterfeiting and piracy
...
Twenty-one Members have joined House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.), IP Subcommittee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) in sponsoring the bill. Additional information about the bill can be found on the House Judiciary Committee website here.
And check out that list of corporate sponsors. Is that the 1% or what? When I see BigPharma, I know what side my bread is buttered on, as my grandma used to say.

You can't criticize something if you can't directly quote it. And of course, this is primarily what is intended, despite the okey-doke from the mega-rich supporters of this bill. In fact, my quote above is an example of exactly what could be legally blocked: Quoting the powerful at length (and possibly even linking).

Ironically, something bloggers invented to make SURE we got it right, that we were using people's actual words, the veritable lingua franca of the internet, would be seriously curtailed or even abolished. In practice, big blogs with lawyers and money (HuffPo, DailyKos, etc) would probably be allowed to continue, but small blogs like mine? Badly harmed, and possibly blocked for good. Needless to say, small blogs are mostly local. My blog is possibly the only left-wing blog in upstate South Carolina, surely the only one that has been around for years. (Do the words "sitting duck" mean anything to you?)


At left: The late Ben Masel, free speech activist and Yippie extraordinaire, who would have been in Washington today, if he'd heard about this. (We miss you, man.)



Email your Senator and Congressperson NOW. I just emailed Senator Lindsey Graham (regarding the related IP law introduced in the Senate) and got this predictable, canned response:
Thank you for taking the time to contact me. I appreciate the opportunity to hear from you.

In spite of the high volume of mail I receive daily, I look forward to reviewing your correspondence and providing a personal response as soon as possible.

As we continue our work in the 112th Congress, I look forward to supporting our troops in the War on Terror, repairing our economy and creating jobs, strengthening Social Security, lowering the tax burden on American families, and making the federal government more accountable and efficient.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if I may be of further assistance to you or your family, and if you need immediate assistance, please call my office at 202-224-5972. If your correspondence pertains to a scheduling request, please fax your request to (202) 224-3808.

Sincerely,

Lindsey Graham
So helpful, as always.

Or maybe he wants us shut down too. I can certainly see why. ;)

Other blogs participating include Boing Boing (who tipped us all off! They deserve a medal!), Daily Kos, Feminist Critics (HI BALLGAME!), Tech dirt (who point out that sports bloggers will be particularly harmed), Huffington Post, Law Librarian Blog, threat post, DO THE WINDY THING, Blogowogo, Electronic Frontier Foundation, AVAAZ.org (sign their petition), Kittywampus, Fight for the Future, and many more. You should read them all.

Ballgame also links this gem: Lying on the Internet could soon be a federal crime. Good Lord, I think THAT could shut the whole internet down good and proper, wouldn't it? Will it include politicians? Entertainers who claim their product is good, when it's shit? Wait, will OPINIONS be judged true or false too? I see this going down scary Orwellian paths.

And I reserve the right to lie about my weight online! They CAN'T TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Heaven is real, says four year old

These books are the new sensation. I originally thought they were fiction, but apparently, they are claiming they to be real:

Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back

Synopsis: 4-year-old goes to heaven during surgery, comes back and has information he couldn't have known otherwise. Jesus told him stuff while he was there, so pay attention.

~*~

90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death and Life

Same thing, but it's a famous Baptist minister this time, hit by a semi. Makes the New York Times bestseller list.

~*~

23 Minutes in Hell: One Man's Story About What He Saw, Heard, and Felt in that Place of Torment

Real estate agent goes to hell for 23 minutes, says it scary.

~*~

I think this genre may be my ticket to finally get published. Some ideas:

Daisy goes to Deadhead Hell: An account of a Deadhead forced to listen to Miley Cyrus for all eternity.

Self-explanatory. Horrendous song lists greet her upon arrival, containing old Partridge Family tunes and commercial jingles. First thing, they serenade you with "I'd like to teach the world to sing"--and make you drink New Coke. (You always wondered where it went to, didn't you?)

Nirvana is Real: a Trip to the Pure Land

4-year-old goes to Nirvana during surgery, says it rocks, comes back and tells us to kick back and relax, you'll get there eventually. Buddha tells him that animals have souls, and child instantly becomes a vegetarian, upsetting his Texas family of hunters and steak-eaters.

23 Minutes in Hell: alternative version

Hell is populated with fundamentalist Christians, or wait, is that heaven? Existential drama modeled on the terrifying Jacob's Ladder, as our plucky heroine can't quite figure out WHERE she is.

Luckily, LSD wears off in about 12 hours.

~*~

Add your own! Play along at home!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Local media blackout about Bob Jones University board scandal continues

Consider all the fuss over the Penn State scandal.

Now, imagine if one of the primary players in the cover-up was re-appointed to the board of Penn State? WHAT?--you exclaim, shocked. That could never happen.

Well, it has, here in Bob Jonesland. And there has been a total media blackout about this, locally. At least Penn State is big enough that they couldn't keep it a secret, or perhaps they would still be attempting to do that.

As many bloggers have written, our fingers numb from typing, slimy Reverend Chuck Phelps, the man ABC's 20/20 informed us made a 15-year-old rape victim stand up in church and apologize for being pregnant, has been re-appointed to the board of fundamentalist Bob Jones University. Oh, and did I mention the rapist who impregnated her had ALREADY CONFESSED to the good Reverend when this happened?

Tina Anderson's story has been covered exhaustively in many different places, and there are lots of angry alumni and petitions circulating, even as we speak. The matter of "what did Chuck Phelps know and when did he know it" -- is now going to the New Hampshire Supreme Court. And still, absolutely no word from local newspapers Greenville News, Anderson Independent Mail or Spartanburg Herald Journal. Silence. Total. And as I have written before, it has been ever thus. The Greenville News, in particular, genuflects at BJU and always has. It is nearly impossible even to get letters-to-the-editor published, if they dare to criticize Bob Jones University. So, don't expect a mere rape scandal to get covered.

And they have the gall to publish stories about Penn State? They should be ashamed of themselves. What about the scandal in their own backyard?

It isn't that the media doesn't care about covering BJU anymore; of course they do. Camille Lewis shares with us how National Journal (co-sponsors of Saturday night's Republican debate at Wofford College in Spartanburg) takes the time to tell us what Bob Jones III is thinking about the election. (Rapists? Who cares about rapists?) I notice they didn't ask BJ3 about the ongoing scandal, but then, they also sponsored a Republican debate that gave a platform to proud misogynist/serial sexual-harasser Herman Cain. I guess we really shouldn't be surprised.

Likewise, this past weekend, the Greenville News gushes about Bob Jones University doing Shakespeare's "Comedy of Errors" like it was set in the 1920s. How creative! How wonderful! (Rape-apologists on the board? What rape-apologists?) Not a single word about the scandal they are currently embroiled in, and the fact that one of their board member's actions are fodder for a state supreme court hearing about condoning the actions of a criminal.

And they wonder why some of us don't believe there is any such thing as "objective journalism"?

~*~

The graphic for this post, comes from this post, from Debunking Christianity, which quotes at length from Bob Jones' famous defense of segregation as Biblically based. (I am told that this is one of the reasons Billy Graham didn't last at BJU and transferred out, among other reasons.)

I used this graphic since BJU's openly-racist history has also been routinely ignored by the local media.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Occupy movement under attack by the Usual Suspects

Photo from our demonstration last night, Occupy the Debate! at the Republican debate in Spartanburg.




Not a single Wall Street thief has been tried for treason for destroying the country's economy. The millions of pensions stolen from old people, are gone. The old people were not bailed out, but the thieves were. When the thieves are tried for outright theft, they are (example) given five years for stealing $278 million. I've known people given stiffer sentences for stealing used cars.

In fact, Herman Cain declares that if people are poor, it is their own fault. He certainly doesn't want any of his rich cronies held accountable. He needs to keep that Koch Brothers money coming in, above all.

And now, I see attacks on the Occupy movement nationwide. Hundreds of arrests, and yet, none of the troublemakers who STARTED this movement, the Wall Street thieves, has faced any jail time. There are no riot police invading Goldman Sachs. Why not? Why are the thieves allowed to continue their business and their luxurious lives, after stealing from us? Oh, right, the theft was declared legal. So that makes it okay, and the police force exists to protect the rich.

I just watched a CNN "news report" about how the police are cracking down on Occupy Portland (Oregon) for a variety of bullshit reasons. The high-tech riot gear I saw those scores of cops decked out in (many of them laughing raucously, so eager are they to crack heads), cost lots more money than the Occupation could EVER cost. This crackdown, this overtime being paid on a Sunday, is costing the city of Portland plenty, but for some reason, those costs never get added in to the "costs of the occupation." After all, that might convince taxpayers that "cracking down" is not really worth it--and it is public money that pays police to dress up in their hyper-expensive, Batman-esque riot get-ups.

During the CNN report, a bunch of government flunkies spoke without interruption, and finally, they deigned to talk to an Occupier. It is notable that the newsreader did not interrupt the flunkies, but was very polite and even let one of them go on for about 5-10 minutes. The Occupier? Did not get even one minute without interruption. He interrupted her (I counted) about a half-dozen times. Then he cut her off and thanked her and moved on.

This is what passes for "objective" news coverage of the Occupy movement.

The Constitution says clearly, that people have the right to freedom of speech and PEACEABLE ASSEMBLY. That means what it says. It doesn't say, "except overnight" or "except in a public park"--no exceptions are delineated. The government is rewriting the constitution, the way they rewrote it for the Civil Rights movement. Just as they invented the right to turn fire hoses on children, they have now invented the right to clear out encampments because there might be a few rats. MY GOD, they are CAMPING ILLEGALLY! Bring in the riot police.

Meanwhile, I'm still waiting for the trials of the Goldman Sachs thieves. I think I'll be waiting quite a long time for that. Instead, they arrest someone giving a speech detailing their crimes, outside their corporate headquarters. Incredible, like something you used to read about the Soviet Union.

As Sinclair Lewis famously said, when fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross. And backed up with riot police, decked out in nothing but the fanciest, best gear. Paid for by us.

Occupy the Debate!

At left: Your humble narrator.






Last night, the Republican presidential candidates debated at Wofford College in Spartanburg. We were there to greet them in our own special way!

Participants included folks from Occupy chapters from around the Carolinas, MoveOn, AFL-CIO and whoever else showed up to make their feelings known.

Photos below. The unavoidably-blurry crowd shots are from our rally across the street from Wofford, other photos are from the march and picket.



~*~

Friday, November 11, 2011

Tunes for 11-11-11

At left, Daisy meets local legend Country Earl! I was thrilled beyond measure. I was introduced to him when I visited the Mauldin Open Air Market last week, to buy Joel Ann's legendary cashew brittle, as well as oodles of fabulous local produce.




I hope you are all having a good 11-11-11, which is a suitably cosmic thang.

I tried to remember to make a wish at 11:11am, and forgot. Yall don't forget at 11:11pm!

Below, some earworms and other delights.

~*~

I thought this was called "Rock and Roll Star" but it's just "Star." It's been ages since I looked at the album cover.

Its a pop/rock gem from that amazing work of art titled The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

I also love it, since he explains exactly what he is going to do, and then he went out and did it. (And how often does that happen?) For emphasis, at the end he adds, "just watch me."

I could do with the money
I'm so wiped out with things as they are
I'd send my photograph to my honey
And I'd come on like a regular superstar



Star - David Bowie



~*~

Okay, trigger warnings and all that stuff. You know what comes from poppies, and you know what happens when people get too fond of it. (Lyrics here)

My tarot reading for 11-11-11 started with the Temperance card, which made me think of this song. It always does.

Baby want more.

Poppies - Patti Smith Group



~*~

My favorite song by the late Jim Croce, which it seems few people have heard.

Hey Tomorrow - Jim Croce



~*~

And finally, this is for Veterans Day.

How many of you were aware that Jim Morrison's father was a Rear Admiral in the Navy? It really does explain a lot.

In concert, Morrison would hit the ground at the sound of the gunshot, like, splat. No slow toppling-over, but bang, flat on the ground. I think you probably have to be really high to do that. Nonetheless, it was damned impressive.

Note the cheering-crowd noise spliced with funeral-church bells at the end. Perfect.

The Unknown Soldier - The Doors



Happy Veterans Day. Bring Them Home Now.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Is Rick Perry stoned?

Some of you might have seen Texas Governor Rick Perry's amazing meltdown last night, during the CNBC Republican presidental debate. It was PAINFUL. He couldn't remember the names of government agencies, after proclaiming they ought to be abolished. "Which ones?" he was asked. Perry just lost it, for several seconds. Long... seconds... and then he said "Oops!" which was as weird as anything else.

Congressman Ron Paul helpfully tried to goose his memory, which made me think of dad trying to coach their kid in a spelling bee. Just awful!

I was mucking around in my kitchen, with garbage bags, cat food and such, listening to the debate. You usually don't need to watch these things, and I find that when I listen and don't watch, I hear very clearly whether the politician-in-question knows what they are actually talking about or not. Thus, when Perry's sudden-silence occurred, I heard it before I saw it. At first, I thought my cable had gone out. And then I heard, um, um, um, er, uh... oops.

Holy shit, did I really hear that? I did! "Perry is done!" I happily bellowed to Mr Daisy, and quickly logged onto Twitter to assess the instant damage.

It was bad.

I bet Rick Perry could name his three favorite drinks -- @chaplinlives

Will 'Oops' be Perry's campaign epitaph? -- @CNN Political Ticker

Top Perry fundraiser calls campaign "over" -- @TPM (Talking Points Memo)

That quiet "oops" Perry said at the end of his brain-cramp was rather poignant, the soft splat of his presidential hopes. -- @James Wolcott

Xanax. I think it's Xanax. Not booze. -- @pattonoswalt

now we all know why Perry said he might skip the debates -- @downwithtyranny
And finally, for the win, Andy Borowitz, who kept tweeting hilarious one-liners throughout the remaining debate:
"Mr. Perry: can you name three states other than Texas?" "California, Oklahoma... um... nope."

Rick Perry's candidacy is coming dangerously close to qualifying as a prank.

Rick Perry: "I would like to abolish Social Security because I can't remember my goddamn number."

Rick Perry Briefly Forgets Own Last Name

I used to believe in evolution, but Rick Perry is a pretty strong argument against it.

Rick Perry: "Before I answer that question, could somebody hold my hair while I vomit?"

Rick Perry: "We need to transition from Social Security to Living Social."
Thus, I laughed myself sick through the rest of the debate, which included Herman Cain referring to Nancy Pelosi as "Princess Nancy." (Serious question: Are these people for real?)

After Perry's embarrassingly bizarre speech in New Hampshire (which is where I got the screen-captures for this page), this will just bury him. After that speech, there were lots of rumors that he was high, even among the GOP. After last night, there can be little doubt.

For my part, I'm glad I rescinded my first prediction. I thought any conservative southern white male who Loves Jesus could easily win South Carolina, but after the last debate that featured Perry's extended goofiness, I decided he wasn't ready for prime time. And now, we see he is a Texas Stoner(tm)! He needs to join up with Congressman Paul for a Free the Weed ticket.

And get some PRIDE, dude. Next time they ask you something, answer "Who the hell cares?" like a proper pothead. Why look dumb if you don't have to? Go for the brazenly stoned vote, and hold your head up! If you can.

(giggles)

~*~

ANNOUNCEMENT:

Occupy Greenville, along with MoveOn and other Occupiers from around the Carolinas will be meeting the Rethuglicans in person at Wofford College in Spartanburg on Saturday, for the CBS Saturday night debate. We will be giving them a HEARTY SOUTH CAROLINA WELCOME! If you would like to join us, come on down, it's gonna be a party!

Map to Wofford here. We can't go onto campus (undoubtedly why they chose the venue), but we will be at the entrance to Wofford on Church Street. Yes, we have a permit. Be law abiding, remember, this is Jesusland. Join us if you can.

Make signs, bring warm bodies, we love the children and the dogs and all of that.

BRING IT!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Herman Cain Follies

The Herman Cain sexual harassment chronicles continue to amuse and amaze.


As you undoubtedly know, such determined individuals never stop at just one--and there is usually a pattern of behavior. Republican rock star candidate (and Godfather's Pizza CEO) Herman Cain is no different than the rest of them.

As was true of Bill Clinton, they are now coming out of the woodwork.

First, the initial accusations, wherein two female employees of the National Restaurant Association (NRA) complained to several co-workers and superiors about nasty behavior by Cain (even quitting their jobs over it, which is why I believed them). Then, a third woman who once worked with Cain, came forward, claiming (among other things) that he sought to party with her privately. She found a way to keep her distance, hence, keeping her job.

Woman number four ain't skeered (hearty applause from DEAD AIR) and is the first to stand up at a press conference and point her finger directly at Cain. As a result, fourth accuser Sharon Bialek is under attack, her personal business, job history and bankruptcy made public. (ASIDE: At the link, you will see one of the things used to smear her is the fact that she has had "nine jobs in seventeen years," and my first thought was, "Is that all?") Cain is supposedly replying to these accusations today. Uh-huh.

Meanwhile, Bialek fires back that she feels sorry for Mrs Cain, saying out loud what many of us are thinking. Cain talks chummy guy-talk to Jimmy Kimmel, chortling over how much he dislikes Bialek's famous attorney, Gloria Allred. (Sounds like he's a little rattled to me, probably because Allred plays for keeps.)

And now, Woman Number Five has arrived! You can't make this stuff up.

This is just too priceless not to quote in its entirety:

A former employee of the United States Agency for International Development says Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain asked her to help arrange a dinner date for him with a female audience member following a speech he delivered nine years ago.

Donna Donella, 40, of Arlington, said the USAID paid Cain to deliver a speech to businessmen and women in Egypt in 2002, during which an Egyptian businesswoman in her 30s asked Cain a question.

"And after the seminar was over," Donella told The Washington Examiner, "Cain came over to me and a colleague and said, 'Could you put me in touch with that lovely young lady who asked the question, so I can give her a more thorough answer over dinner?'"

Donella, who no longer works for USAID, said they were suspicious of Cain's motives and declined to set up the date. Cain responded, "Then you and I can have dinner." That's when two female colleagues intervened and suggested they all go to dinner together, Donella said.

Cain exhibited no inappropriate sexual behavior during the dinner, though he did order two $400 bottles of wine and stuck the women with the bill, she said.

The next time the women heard from Cain was Christmas, when he sent them his gospel CD.

Donella said she felt it was important to describe her encounter with Cain after hearing more serious allegations of sexual harassment brought by other women.

"I couldn't swear that he had some untoward intentions, but we all thought his tone was suspect and we didn't feel comfortable putting him in touch with that woman," Donella recalled.

"I think [Cain] should not be a serious candidate for the presidential nomination because of what I've seen," said Donella, an independent who said she voted for President Obama in 2008 and probably will again next year. "He's not a person I would want running the country."

Cain's campaign did not immediately respond to inquiries from The Examiner.
GOSPEL CD!!!! That really makes the story, doesn't it?

Although there has been concern that this is (or might become) an ugly racist spectacle, so far, I think everyone (except Cain) has minded their manners. In fact, Cain raked in $350,000 worth of campaign contributions in the week following the accusations. It doesn't seem to have tarnished his rock star status with the GOP. Why would it? For conservatives, repeatedly grabbing at women's crotches is a PLUS. Yes, THAT'S the man they want in the White House! Whatta guy! (High-fives all round.)

One of my wittier female friends said he should run on the slogan, "Pizza and Pussy." Republicans will eat it up, you should pardon expression.

Stay tuned, sports fans. Herman Cain implosion imminent.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

If Men Had Hot Flashes

Of course, we know that hot flashes are caused by menopause. But what causes them? Why do they continue in some women and not in others? Why do some foods seem to precipitate them? Why do they occur in the dead of night?

As you may or may not know, if you look up "causes of hot flashes"--HOW they happen, the physiological mechanism--you repeatedly read the following:

The exact cause of hot flashes isn't known, but the signs and symptoms point to factors affecting the function of your body's thermostat — the hypothalamus. This area at the base of your brain regulates body temperature and other basic processes. The estrogen reduction you experience during menopause may disrupt hypothalamic function, leading to hot flashes.
Well, duh!

I could have written that. I know what the hypothalamus does. Most of us who wake up soaking wet, have figured out that it's something like that.

But what CAUSES the hypothalamus to go wacky? What is the exact way lowered-estrogen affects the hypothalamus? How and why does hormone-level impact it?

(((crickets)))

Wait, they can figure out how to make hard-on drugs for old guys, but they still don't know what causes hot flashes?????

Now, let me guess. Why do you suppose that is?

Are women, specifically OLDER women, just not that important? Why has some high-end study not been conducted? THIS IS 2011!

Wait, let me guess again. Someone tried to fund a study, and couldn't get funded. The pharmaceutical industry specialized in giving women cancer for decades, and that was judged good enough. It was only when various medical studies came out, definitively condemning Hormone Replacement Therapy as a medical risk, that many women started studying the issue for ourselves. After all, our mothers and grandmothers had used HRT, and we assumed we might also.

But my mother had breast cancer (when she was exactly my age) and my grandmother had fibrocystic breast disease (to such an extent that she had several large, but benign, breast cysts surgically removed). Hm, thought the baby-boomer women. Maybe they're right, and we shouldn't use astronomical levels of hormones? (And why didn't they study the safety of hormones, before dosing millions of women with them? Well, why would they?)

Okay, we thought, let's study the condition, and figure out what might help; first, the cause of hot flashes. If we can isolate the cause, we can figure out what natural or alternative treatments might be. At the very least, we can figure out catalysts and try to minimize their occurrence.

(((crickets)))

They. Don't. Know.

They put a man on the moon (man on the moooooon) -- so yes, it is reasonable to assume they might care about their moms' discomfort. Isn't it?

Ha!

I started menopause in 2006, and as regular readers know, I celebrated my postmenopausal self (defined as one year of not menstruating) by starting this blog in June of 2007. I still have hot flashes, although not the wretched slow-boil kind (known as "ember flashes"), which are mercifully behind me. Some women continue to have those, too, though. Why? And why are they notably less common in Asian women? Is this cultural, and possibly diet-related? A good way to determine this would be to study hot flashes in Asian women still living in Asian countries and eating Asian diets, vs Asian women who live in the USA and eat the usual American diet of processed foods, salty snacks and Taco Bell. Is there a difference in number of hot flashes? Or perhaps there is a genetic component.

And have they done this? I have no college degree, and yet, I can figure out this much.

(((crickets)))

Last night--BANG, in the middle of the night, I woke up and wiped off the sweat. I wondered if it was something I ate at a wedding reception, and then... was instantly peeved: I SHOULD KNOW THIS! I SHOULD KNOW WHAT FOODS TO AVOID, DAMMIT! WHERE IS MY GUIDE FOR THE MENOPAUSAL SWEATY WOMAN, WRITTEN BY SOME ASSOCIATION???!!! As the diabetic associations and the gluten-intolerance associations and the salt-free associations offer guides for their people.

No, they can't provide this, since they are clueless.

Women have lived on this planet as long as men, and yet--? Hot flashes are still described as a "mystery."

And so, in a nod to Gloria Steinem's witty piece titled "If Men Could Menstruate"--here is what occurred to me in the dead of night.

~*~

If Men Had Hot Flashes, there would be a Hot Flashes Association (HFA) with foods marked "HFA" (logo inside a macho male symbol), the way Cheerios have a little heart on them, for "heart healthy." Needless to say, they would KNOW which foods to eat and which not to eat, since extensive research and causality studies would exist.

If Men Had Hot Flashes, the Weather Channel would feature a daily Hot Flash Report, instructing men with maps of Hot Flash Regions for the day (since extensive research will show that weather is a factor). Men at work will ask each other (not in whispers, either), what the Hot Flash Report said that morning: "Did anyone catch the Hot Flash report? Whew, is it hot in here?" Raucous laughter and high-fives.

If Men Had Hot Flashes, there would be hot-flash drugs tomorrow morning. And they would be advertised in pricey, cutesy TV ads, just like Viagra, Cialis, etc. (Drugs with NO female equivalent, BTW, since older women's sexual enjoyment is as low-priority in this culture as the dilemma of hot flashes is.)

If Men Had Hot Flashes, when it's time to toast at the wedding and they flush unexpectedly, they will stand up boldly and proudly announce, "I AM HAVING A HOT FLASH!"--and all men in the room will applaud, laugh and cheer. It will be like announcing which team is going to the Orange Bowl. No shame, no apologies. No giggling by anybody when they turn beet-red. What is to apologize for? It's a sign of MANHOOD, isn't it? And therefore, it would be roundly celebrated.

If Men Had Hot Flashes, women would hear how we really don't understand the mysteries of the human body, the stages of life, the natural progression of age. We would hear jokes about "women menopause"--how women suddenly have to acquire sports cars and young hottie-boys in old age. Or is that just too funny to think about? Yes, you're right, never mind. (Let's skip this one, too sci-fi to be believable.)

If Men Had Hot Flashes, they would brag about how hot it was, how long it lasted, and who had the biggest. They would institute suitable competitions and a Champion thus installed: Hot Flash Champion. And everyone would know this man's name.

If Men Had Hot Flashes, they would probably wake up their wives at night and demand to be taken to the ER. Some Nice Guys(tm) would quietly and politely not wake the Missus, take a cold shower, and go back to sleep... only to be called MANGINA, WIMP, WUSS, PUSSY-WHIPPED and such, by his fellow males. Suitably chastened, Nice Guy(tm) will attempt to make a big fuss next time, like a proper man should.

If Men Had Hot Flashes, there would be literary works throughout history about Hot Flashes. Shakespeare's Henry V would have given a rousing speech, "We happy Few! We who burn on the pyre manhood!" (Males thrust weapons into the air and shout in response: AGGGHHH!!!!) TS Eliot would write great poems about his hot flashes, while Hemingway would turn it into an existential drama about hunting. And we would have to study all of this in school, and it would be nothing to take lightly or laugh about. THIS IS MANHOOD WE ARE TALKING ABOUT, people!

If Men Had Hot Flashes, John Wayne would have said: "I gotta hot flash, pilgrim, whats it to ya?" This famous manly comment, shrugging off the tortures of the damned, will make it into Bartlett's Quotations.

If Men Had Hot Flashes, well, I wouldn't even have to write this. ;)